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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Singapore
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    22

    Default Wet Walls / Condensation

    I am an inspector in Singapore (used to be a HI in Louisina). Here, all residential is apartments, all walls (including interior walls) are brick covered with 1/4" cement or plaster. No insulation. A common problem is when the occupant of one unit runs the A/C 24/7 making the party wall cold. The neighbor keeps the windows open (typical weather here is 90F, 90% RH) and the A/C off. Result, condensation on the "cold" wall leading to mold, peeling paint, etc. Any suggestions? Nobody here wants a "hollow" wall (with insulation) and I can't get anyone to install EIFS on interior walls. Hope someone out there has dealt with this sort of thing before.
    D. Edenburn

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    Condensation is forming in the non-conditioned apartment, right?

    Simple, tell them to close the windows and run a dehumidifier (called an air conditioner.)
    Either that or insulate.
    It would not take a lot of insulation, just an inch or so would raise the temperature of the wall above the dew point. You might get the person running the a/c to buy in on insulation as a cost savings.

    Check out the Building Science website for a discussion and vapor barriers, dewpoints, etc.
    Building Science Information

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Singapore
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    22

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    Thanks Jim for the reply. Of course that was the first thing I told them. The problem is telling people what they can or cannot do in their own property. I explained that they either had to close the windows, shoot the neighbor, or learn to like mold. Closing the windows is the most reasonable. Of course the builder is nervous since the owner may decide that it is all his fault. People paid over 3 million for these places and expect them to be perfect without any work on their part. Has anyone tried insulating paint, would that be adequate? I don't know what the "R-value" of those coatings would be.
    David Edenburn


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    I would think that just the mention of "mold" would get somebodys attention pretty fast. If only the lawyers...

    I'm a dyslexic agnostic-Don't believe there is a dog...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    It's like condensation on a glass of ice water. To control it you have only two choices - raise the temperature of the glass surface or remove the moisture in the air. If people don't want to do either than they live with it. End of story.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    4,170

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    Like Eric said, it is physics. You don't get away with breaking those laws without some consequences.
    Insulating paints have to have snake oil in them...

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  7. #7
    peter legeros's Avatar
    peter legeros Guest

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    Hi David,

    Do you think two inch extruded polystyrene (R-10) (perm of .06) on the warm side of the wall with a mold resistant gyp bd interior face and an alkyd low perm paint creating a vapor barrier at the paint film surface would help?

    Do you think you would even need the alkyd based paint if you seal the joints and the two inch extruded polystyrene acts as a vapor barrier?


  8. #8
    Daniel Leung's Avatar
    Daniel Leung Guest

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    The easy solution is: turn on your A/C too, just when people at home. You don't need to keep it 24/7, then no water condensate on walls.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,258

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    $3 million and they would rather live with 90/90 then run the air conditioner? Sounds pretty crazy to me. Why even bother spending the money for the place?

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    The thing I want to know is are you making any money over in Singapore?


    Quote Originally Posted by David Edenburn View Post
    I am an inspector in Singapore (used to be a HI in Louisina). Here, all residential is apartments, all walls (including interior walls) are brick covered with 1/4" cement or plaster. No insulation. A common problem is when the occupant of one unit runs the A/C 24/7 making the party wall cold. The neighbor keeps the windows open (typical weather here is 90F, 90% RH) and the A/C off. Result, condensation on the "cold" wall leading to mold, peeling paint, etc. Any suggestions? Nobody here wants a "hollow" wall (with insulation) and I can't get anyone to install EIFS on interior walls. Hope someone out there has dealt with this sort of thing before.
    D. Edenburn



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    To Peter:

    I would tell them to use insulation (that is what I would do in the US) except that here the fire code specifies that no "synthetic" material is to be allowed in construction. No foam (only rock wool) , no plastic pipes (all stainless steel), etc. Makes the fire department's job easier when all buildings are built entirely of brick or stone. In any case, I think the issue is moot. It has been several months now and I have not heard back from the owner. I assume they either started running the A/C (the prefered solution) or learned to love mold. For Craig, yes, the business here is doing very well. Average fee for an inspection is $70k. Of course we don't do many residences, it is all offices or factories. No recession in Asia.
    David


  12. #12
    peter legeros's Avatar
    peter legeros Guest

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    Hi David, Interesting about the synthetics...thx for the update on the client.

    If it comes back, it may be worth considering using rock wool insulation in lieu of foam, combined with a vapor impermeable paint on the gyp bd. warm side.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    574

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    David,

    Being that this is an apartment building in Singapore and the client owns the unit, I would assume that the deed or contract they hold is for the unit only and that the common areas are owned and managed by either the building owner or an association.

    I would imagine that a "common" plumbing wall or building chase would be an Owner or Association issue and out of the unit owner's responsibility or control.

    I would recommend that you advise your client to notify the owner or association of the problem and the potential danger of mold and mildew.
    It would be their responsibilty to mitigate. And as responsible law abiding Singapore citizens I image they would.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Wet Walls / Condensation

    Why don't they just hang up bamboo mats, floor to ceiling? If they go black, replace them or paint them.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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